Let them Eat Cake in Vienna

After how hectic the last little while had been we were glad as a group to have a little more downtime in Vienna. Vienna was my last stop with the rest of the group and I ended up leaving the day before they did, but even with that it was still a more relaxed pace. Our first full day in Vienna we slept in a bit and then decided to head out to see the Schönbrunn Palace. We had been warned that it was big and would take us a while, but I think we were all surprised by just how long it did take us – it was the only thing we were able to do that day and we even ended up rushing through parts of the gardens.

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Schönbrunn Palace from the back

We were there around the time of the Bastille Day terrorist attack in Nice so the conversation had its downsides but the palace itself was wonderful. Pictures definitely do not do it justice. We got the ‘Classic Pass’ which let us into the palace itself as well as the privy garden, orangery, maze, and gloriette. We ended up rushing the privy garden and the orangery unfortunately. Not only were were starting to run low on time, but the weather also started to turn for the worse later in the day.

The next day we ended up staying in bed even later. I’ll admit that it drove me a wee bit crazy because I was ready to go and do things much earlier than the others. I thought about just going off on my own, but it was my last day with everyone and I wanted to enjoy it as such. We did end up leaving my roommate behind and he met up with us later though because he said he was not feeling well.

We did not have a huge list of to dos that day. We wanted to go to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, find one of the girls a gift for herself, and we had been instructed to go to the favourite cake shop of our friend who had left us in Munich.

We did manage to do it all and so much more.

 

We spent a lot of time just wandering and enjoying the architecture and such. We did manage to get a bit off track and lost once or twice too. Whoops.

 

Around lunchtime we ended up wandering around like idiots trying to find a bathroom for one of our group to use and seemed to have ended up in some sort of Disney character photo shoot. We did not want to seem too weird so we weren’t able to get too close, but we snapped a couple pictures just for the sheer oddity of the situation.

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In this picture we can see… Aladdin, Belle, Tiana, & Esmerelda.

It was random, but also pretty awesome. We all came together once more to meet up at our friend’s favourite cake shop. We were surprised (though knowing our friend we shouldn’t have been) to discover that the place was a bit fancier than we were expecting. Surprise!

13716132_10157117585640125_1899395044625390618_nThe cake was delicious though. We got a little bit lost as we had to wait in line ups and did not exactly know what we were doing, but it was worth a laugh. We ended up waiting for our final friend for a while though which was kind of awkward because the place was packed and it was a bit obvious they would have liked us to move a bit faster. Oh well.

As much as I enjoyed travelling with my friends though I was looking forward to getting some alone time as well. We spent the rest of our evening in Vienna trying to find something for one of our friends (she ended up getting a beautiful scarf) and then one of the guys decided he just had to have a stein and he found one he loved (we even convinced him to get the big one).

The next morning I woke up and we checked out of our hotel. My roommate was going onto Croatia with the others but they still had another day in Vienna so he was going to crash in their place (which no one could know about). I said a cheerful goodbye and left the world of U-Bahns and S-Bahns behind once I made it to the Vienna airport. The next stop was Rome. I was super excited even though it did mean getting on yet another plane. More on Rome next time!

  • Kali

Singin’ in Salzburg

From Prague we went onto Vienna, but although we spent our first evening in Vienna, our first full day we actually left the city for a day trip to Salzburg. Salzburg was added to the itinerary essentially because of a group appreciation for The Sound of Music. There are specific Sound of Music tours, but we didn’t do one of those. We just did a general tour.

I hadn’t seen The Sound of Music in years (although I have recently watched it now on an airplane ride), but I remembered enough to appreciate the decision to take the trip. Unfortunately the tour itself did not live up.

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Welcome to Salzburg.

First off, it was pouring rain the whole day. That, of course, could not be helped, but it did make the day quite dreary. More importantly though, our tour guide was awful. And not like she made terrible jokes awful (she did, but that’s to be expected), but more she did not seem to know what she was talking about and she barely actually showed us anything before setting us loose in Salzburg on our own for most of it. It seemed like a real waste of money.

13782176_10157113237855125_9099592559762694509_nAnd, unfortunately for me, this was probably the most awkward day of the trip personally. The couple went off on their own and then the other two clearly wanted to be left alone. I stuck with them for a little bit, but then left when they decided to go to Mozart’s Birthplace. They were the real classical music fans and frankly I had started to get the picture that they wanted me to go away. So I went away.

Fortunately for me I don’t really mind my own company. I was able to wander the streets by myself poking into stores, but mostly into churches. There were a lot of churches in Salzburg considering it did not seem to be a particularly large place.

One particular church, the Franziskanerkirche, was very peaceful. It seemed less open to random tourists than the others – quieter and more solemn – that I spent a fair amount of time in. It was calming and peaceful. I’m not (and never have been) religious, but I still have a fondness for the atmosphere cultivated in such places.

13668963_10157113237870125_5431240718315523179_nThere was not really a whole lot to do in Salzburg, but it was a nice little place. I suspect it would have been a better experience if the weather had been nicer and I don’t really feel any pull to return to Salzburg, but it was a pretty little place.

Honestly, I think we probably should have just done one of the Sound of Music tours. It might have been better run. I’m not really sure why we didn’t do one of those actually – I wasn’t part of the planning process after all.But considering the inspiration for going it would have seemed to have been the logical thing to do. Oh well. What is done is done at this point after all. And on the plus side, I mostly went because the others did. I do like The Sound of Music, but it had been so long since I had seen it that I wasn’t tied to the nostalgia the way a lot of people might have been. I definitely did find myself humming (and sometimes even singing aloud) the songs from the movie. They are particularly memorable ones after all.

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Doe, a deer, a female deer…

While Salzburg may not have been exactly what we were all expecting/hoping for, I think the time apart served most of us well. The tension was notably lessened after that day. I don’t know if everyone was feeling it, but I definitely was.

More about our adventures in Austria next time.

  • Kali